I have mentioned in the past that while I started collecting comics on a regular basis in the spring of 1987 I didn’t start paying real attention to the culture of my chosen addiction until about 1994. There were exceptions to be sure. For a few years I was a faithful reader of Comics Scene Magazine and learned about a wide variety of new and interesting books but looking back I bought it mainly for the articles on the movie and television adaptations that were coming out at the time. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It is just where my head was at when I was twelve to sixteen years old.
Because of the tunnel vision I had at the time and maybe because I didn’t hit the comic shop on a weekly basis I missed out on some things involving the Death of Superman. One of them was a magazine called Comics Values Monthly. I have been able to find precious little about the history of this magazine but from I have seen it started in 1986. I have managed to get my hands on three issues and from the looks of it CVM was one of the many price guide type magazines that were so popular in the early nineties. What I would like to know is if CVM started out as a price guide when it began publication in 1986 because if that is the case it beat Wizard: The Guide to Comics to the punch by five years.
CVM definitely had it over Wizard in terms of having a special dedicated to Superman out around the time Superman #75 hit the stands. Wizard would eventually put out a flashy Superman related special but that was published closer to when Reign of the Supermen was about to start. While I can’t find an exact date of publication CVM‘s special was solicited in the same edition of Previews as Superman #75 and they even included a really keen ad for it.
This cover is almost meta when you think about it. The magazine is a memorial to Superman while the cover depicts people visiting a memorial to Superman. That’s kind of deep but I am going with the assumption that CVM chose it because it is a striking image. Either way great cover.
On the inside front cover is the tombstone ad for Superman #75. After the table of contents we have what is called Dialogue Balloons and Captions, which is essentially the opening message from Neil Hansen, the editor of the magazine. It is an interesting read as such opening messages go. Hansen discusses Superman’s place in the world of comics and pop culture as well as his personal connection to putting out a magazine about Superman. In 1983 Hansen co-created a magazine for Krause Publications called Comics Collector and the first issue was a spotlight on Superman’s 45th anniversary. That made me smile because I actually have the first issue of Comics Collector thanks to my former comics dealer Chuck Sheffey.
For grins, here is a scan of the cover to that first issue.
After Hansen’s opening comments we get to the articles which include:
- Golden Age of the Man of Steel by Ron Goulart. Thi is a two page history of Superman in the Golden Age. By the way Goulart wrote the foreword to the second volume of the Superman Archives in addition to The Great Comic Book Artists and The Encyclopedia of American Comics.
- An Interview with Super-Creators Siegel and Shuster by Thomas Andrae. This is a reprint of an interview from the second issue of Nemo which was published by Fantagraphic Books in 1983. I have heard about this interview for years but this is the first time I have gotten a chance to read it.
- Dave Tendlar, Super-Animator by Jay Sumsion. As the title suggests this is an interview with Dave Tendlar who has the distinction of pulling off an animated Superman hat trick by working for the Fleisher Studios, Filmation and Hanna-Barbera. That is some resume to have.
- Superman’s Pal Curt Swan by Neil Hansen, transcribed by Steve Thomas. This is a pretty thorough interview with Swan and even includes his thoughts on other Superman artists.
- Super-Discussions With John Byrne and Marv Wolfman by Neil Hansen. A two part discussion with Byrne and Wolfman with some great insights from both men.
- Danny Fuchs: Super-Collector by Jim Main. This man had (and I hope still has) an impressive Superman collection.
- Superman Collectibles. A price guide of Superman related books, toys, clothing, models and such.
- Superman on the Screen. A comprehensive listing of Superman’s movie and television appearances. This thing is very thorough when it comes to listing episode names to the various series. It has everything up to the syndicated Superboy series.
- He’s Such a Card, That Superman by Jim Main. A comprehensive listing of the various Superman trading card sets.
- Superman Trading Cards. A listing and price guide for Superman trading cards. They even include the cards featuring Superman artists and writers from the Famous Comic Book Creators set put out by Eclipse Enterprises.
- Superman Chronology. Major milestones in the life of the Man of Steel.
- Superman in the Comics. A Superman comic book price guide.
- Who Really Killed Superman? by Neil Hansen. This is a fantastic article featuring interviews with Mike Carlin and the rest of the Superman creative team of the time. It even includes a page from Jurgen’s written plot for Superman #75.
And that is it. As you can see the people at Comics Values Monthly put out a detailed and exhaustive look at Superman’s history. I am very happy that I found this in my research on the Death and Return of Superman. It was fairly cheap too if you want a copy for yourself. I paid like $2 plus shipping for mine, which was a lot less than I thought I would have to pay. I cannot recommend this magazine enough if you are a fan of the Man of Steel.
Next time: Death of Superman house ads!
More to follow…